Gin has definitely caught the attention of consumers in India. Though it’s presence in its current form is limited to main metro cities, Gin is going through an extremely exciting phase and still transcending into the mainstream. There aren’t just new consumers every day but new Gins too! There is indeed a shift that has happened with consumers themselves leaning towards more creative choices.
Today, we see a lot of Indian consumers are excited to try a good homegrown product without it being a compromise and brands like ours are able to communicate and ensure our high-quality standards. Moreover, with India’s growing cocktail culture, a lot of Indian consumers are open to trying new, atypical cocktails as well. Although the gin consumption style in India is slowly evolving, we believe that the journey for Gin in India is just beginning.
As people travel, they have slowly started to realise India’s rich history when it comes to Gin and agricultural bounty when it comes to ingredients, so it has become an obvious choice for Gin makers alike. I think we definitely played an important role in highlighting the above and we continue to work tirelessly to add to the India conversation.
Right from the start, we wanted to build a truly Indian Gin that would stand out on the shelves of top bars in the world but fit in just as well in the colourful and vibrant bars in Panjim. It goes without saying that we individually are not just cocktail enthusiasts but also had access to observe the beginnings of the gin revolution first hand. I was working towards my MBA in Barcelona, while Vidur was studying in the UK and Rahul had just set up his craft brewery in Mumbai.
While we were tasting and drinking a variety of gins every day – whether in London’s cocktail bars or the gin tonics of Barcelona, we were getting well acquainted with the gin landscape. That’s when it piqued our interest as to why India wasn’t up to speed with Gin although Gin manufacturers all over the world looked to India when it came to sourcing botanicals and we kept encountering brands based on a vision of India that we knew very well had never been a reality.
This made us question why products with these botanicals are made everywhere but here. To add to this, there wasn’t any other quality homegrown product then that was conveying the story from our perspective so we decided to change that and embarked into a lot of research before setting up Third Eye Distillery. Made from inherently Indian botanicals, Stranger & Sons Gin captures the essence of contemporary India in every bottle for a curious and discerning consumer.
What makes Stranger & Sons different is how we celebrate our diverse, unique and complicated history while recognizing India in its current context instead of the stereotypical version with just palaces, elephants, and so on. Embracing this wonderful strangeness inherent in the contemporary India we live in today through our Gin allows consumers to connect with the story and the brand in a very organic manner. Creating this emotional connection with our audience has always been at the core of our thought process and that’s where we believe that it’s not just what our gin is made of that matters, but what it represents.
Starting out as a home-grown gin brand from Goa to being declared one of the 8 best gins in the world by the International Wine & Spirit Competition in 2020, to winning the highest honours at The Asian Spirit Masters 2021 to our most recent Gold medal at The Gin Masters 2021, we’ve had an action-packed and eventful journey so far!
We believe that Indian Gin is definitely on the world map but we are constantly experimenting with other spirits and expressions of our gin that we can create in order to showcase the diversity that India represents to the rest of the world. Third Eye Distillery was never built as a one product company right from the get go- I don’t think there’s a single day that goes by when either one of us currently or Charnelle, our head distiller, isn’t tinkering with some new method or product. We are also constantly trying to do our bit to make our distillery more responsible and sustainable while exploring new extensions and experimenting with various ideas.
As we continue to prioritise innovation, crafting immersive experiences and strengthening our relationships with consumers and trade alike, the one thing we know for sure is that whichever product we release next will truly be adding to the conversation and be integral to taking our cocktail culture to the next step.
– By Sakshi Saigal, Stranger and Sons, the first homegrown brand built on Indian provenance.